Back in 2015, the Yankees signed Estevan Florial for $200,000. This was a bargain for one of the most highly-touted international prospects due to an identity discrepancy he had with MLB. Once he was cleared, the Yankees hopped at the opportunity of a discounted price.
Florial is well known as one of the best talents in baseball that has yet to come to fruition, mostly due to injuries, but also to some extent, lack of a matured skill set. His tools, however, entice observers—namely speed, power, and arm strength. If he didn’t injure his wrist in spring training of 2019, he could very well have soared through the system. There was no shortage of opportunities in the minor leagues this season.
With the deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft today, however, the question of whether or not to keep him again may be raised. I do think the Yankees should keep him. Florial has been a highly-touted prospect with multiple plus tools that many teams would desire. Now, knowing that, the Yankees have been contenders for the last several years. They’ve made a number of win-now moves. Yet come every trade deadline, his name surfaces, but he always remains in the organization.
Keep in mind this is not recent! Since 2017, the Yankees have been desperately looking for the next player that will take them to the top. This is now two offseasons and two trade deadlines he has survived with the Yankees. It says a lot that after all the large or small tweaks the Yankees have made to their roster, Florial has not once become trade bait.
In 2017, Florial had a great year in the minor leagues batting .298, slugging 13 homers, and posting an OPS of .850. He stole 23 bases on top of all of that. This was most definitely when his value was at its highest, yet he still remained in the Yankees system.
That was a comment Cashman made in December of 2018. The hamate surgery was in 2018 and then in spring training of 2019 he fractured his wrist which kept him out for half of this past season. So his progress has most certainly been slowed, however I think if the Yankees eventually find out they don’t need him, they might as well get something for him.
The way I see it, it can only benefit the Yankees to keep him. He’s a prospect with lots of potential and can be a nice replacement for Brett Gardner who may retire in the next couple years. If for some reason the Yankees can’t find a spot for him he can always be used as a high-leverage trade piece down the line. Letting a top prospect go for nothing after keeping him for so long makes little to no sense at all.